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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

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Fast access to PPO discounts

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: I need to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. How soon can I use a PPO discount card after signing up online?

A: As a practical matter it now takes 3-5 days from the time you enroll in a discount plan online until you have your ID card that is sent by mail. This will change in the future when immediate downloads are available as has become common with health insurance ID cards. In the meanwhile, you can call member services after you enroll and pay for the discount plan for instructions on how to access benefits immediately. If you are using any of the Fortis PPO discount plans at the member support telephone number is (800) 800-5453. Other telephone numbers are listed at


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